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Thomas Jefferson community ‘goes gray’ to honor sick alumni

Gray wasn’t the color of the Seattle sky, but worn proudly by Thomas Jefferson High School students on Jan. 24.

While many came to see an entertaining basketball game between the Raiders and Royals of Kent Meridian, the students and parents supporting the team came in their best gray outfits to support David Keefer, a former alumni of the school who is battling brain cancer.

All tickets and proceeds went to the American Cancer Society and the Keefer family. Along with the ticket sales and donations, the program sold gray “Team Keef” shirts that showed the team’s support of the Keefer family.

This tradition started when head coach Kyle Templeton took the concept of Coaches vs. Cancer, a program that many national colleges now implement, and started the tradition with Thomas Jefferson alumni.

“This is good for the program,” Templeton said. “This proves to our guys that there are always things that are bigger than basketball.”

Templeton, a graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School, knew about the alum’s situation through Facebook and decided to take action.

Keefer, a former student at Thomas Jefferson, was a three-sport athlete in football, basketball and track. However, cancer has become the biggest challenge of Keefer’s life.

“David has been battling brain cancer for 10 years,” said assistant coach Jeremy Fagan.

“We hope to show everyone that there is a bigger picture,” Templeton said.

Keefer was taken to the hospital earlier that day and could not attend the event.

The school community’s support for him could not be understated.

Before the game, everyone in the audience gave the Keefer family a standing ovation as a tribute to the challenges that they are going through. On top of that, the entire crowd was able to raise more than $420 in a single minute as students ran around with buckets frantically.

Thomas Jefferson kept their playoff hopes alive with a 59-55 win. However, the win seemed to take the backseat amidst Keefer’s supporters.

“Doing the gray out,” Fagan said.

 

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